Why Are So Many Older Players Moving To The MLS?

Why Are So Many Older Players Moving To The MLS?

Just a year after his long-awaited return to Everton, the club that he began the Premier League with at only 16 years old, Wayne Rooney could possibly have made an agreement in principle with DC United to join the MLS this summer. Is the American championship the best option for legends when they near the end of their careers?

Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and now Wayne Rooney. This summer, the MLS is expected to sign a European football legend, after Wayne Rooney reached an agreement with Washington DC for next season. Moving to the states is becoming a popular path for legends wanting to continue playing football at the end of their careers.

“Low” salaries

Although salaries have risen by 80% since 2013 in the MLS, the biggest stars are even giving up tens of millions of euros to join the United States. For example, Andrea Pirlo receives 5.9 million dollars every season which is more than what Juve players get, but much less than what China or Qatar are offered.

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An extremely good lifestyle

But after such great careers in Europe, the biggest football legends don’t always look for more profitable contracts. In the United States, a man such as Andrea Pirlo can walk down the streets of New York for hours without being stopped, but there is no chance at all of that happening in any European country. After exhausting careers, players are often drawn in by the quality of the amenities and facilities that are offered by the MLS clubs, as they are sometimes better than those that they are familiar with in Europe. The medical teams are excellent and the training conditions are perfect.

Obviously settling in is easier, particularly due to there not being a language barrier as could be a problem if they chose to transfer to China or Qatar. The MLS is growing faster and their gameplay is improving year after year. These are just some of the many factors that are used to attract the biggest players to this not so exotic championship.

• Will Armstrong
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